In the case of the 2-9 Packers there's also the matter of wanting to keep Favre from retiring. "If you want to keep him around," Sherman said, "you keep him playing"--and you try to win every Sunday.
"Don't you think it would be presumptuous of me to get ready for something that isn't necessarily going to happen?" Sherman said. "Brett has given me no indication that he's going to retire. His skills aren't diminished. In some ways he's been better than ever this year. I just don't see him going home to Mississippi for good and sitting on that tractor every day. Not the way he's playing, not the way he's moving in the pocket and making plays."
Getting Wild Down South
How do you figure the favorite in the NFC South? Eight of the 12 divisional games take place in the last month of the season, including two matchups between the Panthers (8-3) and the Falcons (7-4) and two pairing the Bucs (7-4) against the Saints (3-8). Carolina has won five in a row from Tampa Bay, and Tampa Bay has taken eight of 10 from Atlanta, yet Carolina is 1-9 versus Atlanta in their last 10 meetings.... What's odd about the first two coaching hires by Lions president Matt Millen- Marty Mornhinweg, who lasted two years, and Steve Mariucci, who was fired in his third season on Monday--is that those two men are so different from Millen philosophically. From his days as a linebacker with the Raiders, Millen is a blood-and-guts guy. Mornhinweg and Mariucci are more even-tempered. Millen's next hire will likely be a my-way-or-the-highway type, someone like Niners assistant head coach Mike Singletary.... Look no further than quarterback to see why the Bengals are 8-3 and the Ravens 3-8. Midway through the third quarter of Cincinnati's 42-29 win over Baltimore on Sunday, Carson Palmer's quarterback rating was 151.4 and Kyle Boller's 0.0. Said Boller, who is playing for his Ravens future over the next month, "I can't play the way I did for this team to win."
It may sound like sacrilege to compare the 2005 Chicago defense with that of the legendary '85 Bears, but after 11 games the '05 unit--which, with Alex Brown (right) tormenting quarterback Chris Simms, carried the 8-3 Bears to a 13-10 win over the Bucs--stacks up pretty well.
[This article contains a table -- Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
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